Alexander Garvin ’62 ARCH ’67, the chief planner for the organization charged with rebuilding the World Trade Center site, resigned abruptly Monday.
Garvin, who teaches architecture and the course “Study of the City” at Yale, served as vice president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, where he played a major role in the plans for rebuilding Ground Zero. He told the New York Daily News that he wanted to devote more of his time to his classes at Yale, the New York City Planning Commission and New York City’s 2012 Olympic bid. LMDC official Andrew Winters ARCH ’94, who worked with Garvin as a student and TA, is one of the possible successors to Garvin, the New York Daily News reported.
Neither Garvin nor Winters were available for comment Wednesday.
“Alex made a personal decision that he wants to move on and focus on other endeavors including his teaching at Yale,” Kevin Rampe, interim president of the development corporation, said Wednesday. “I’m assured that Alex is going to be available to help us as we go forward and I’m sure he will be.”
Garvin had reportedly been at odds with Rampe and other top officials at the agency.
Sam Ryerson ’04, who interned with the LMDC last summer, said Garvin would be missed.
“I think it’s a loss for the LMDC. I’d say he’s put in place a kind of vision that the city, the world can build on,” he said. “I know that the politics [in New York] are some of the most intense in the world, I think that they may have taken a toll, and I know that he wants to spend more time working on his classes and his books and his other professional activities.”
Garvin was asked in February 2002 to lead the team that would rebuild the site. He agreed to do so with assurances that he would still be able to teach courses at Yale.
He recruited several Yale alumni to work with him at the LMDC, including Brett Rubin ’00 and Brandon Smith ’02, who worked with Garvin on their senior projects, and Hugh Eastwood ’00.
After releasing six preliminary “design concepts” this summer, Garvin and his coworkers began a competition to hire architects to join a planning team for the World Trade Center site. After considering 406 applicants, he selected seven teams, with the help of analysts, consultants and designers.
The LMDC and the Port Authority announced the winning design by architect Daniel Libeskind this February. Garvin told the Yale Daily News in late March that he was in the process of negotiating contracts, as well as examining design regulations, site plans and environmental impact.
Garvin told the Yale Daily News last month that he was pleased with the plan.
“It was not an ‘I like’ thing. It was a serious effort on the part of the state, city, and LMDC to get a great design. And we did get a great design,” Garvin said.
–The Associated Press contributed to this story.